Tuesday, February 28, 2017

1967

1967 was a pop culture phenomenon, culturally the most significant year since the Beatles premiered on Ed Sullivan less than two months after the Kennedy assassination in 1963. Aside from the obvious (Sgt. Pepper, The Doors, Our World ("All You Need is Love"), the Human Be-Ins, etc.), 1967 brought us The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which debuted in February as the Nehru jacketed counterpoint to staid American television. The show beat out Bonanza for the time slot for the first time in 8 years. The variety show's three year run was the best in controversial comedy and political satire, in addition to highlighting musical artists often unwelcome on mainstream TV (George Harrison, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Spanky and Our Gang, among others). Although there is debate what artist is singly responsible for the first music videos (from Dylan to the Beatles in A Hard Day's Night), the first major television appearance of the format was during season three of the show with The Beatles' "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" and The Bee Gees' "Holiday."

In late February, Jimi Hendrix and the Who appear at Brian Epstein's Saville Theater in London. The greatest enthusiasm that evening went to Hendrix's Experience. Unknowns to British fans just weeks prior, Hendrix quickly built-up a huge following in London clubs since being brought there by ex- Animal Caas Chandler. The Who played a 35-minute set including “Happy Jack,” and “My Generation.”

In March, the 9th annual Grammy Awards presented Frank Sinatra with the Grammy for Record of the Year for "Strangers in the Night" (Record of the Year is a track from an LP or single not written by the artist) and Male Vocal of the Year; John Lennon and Paul McCartney for Song of the Year ("Michelle"); Best female vocal performance went to Eydie Gorme for "He Walked Into My Life;" Revolver and Klaus Voorman won Top Graphic Arts for an Album Cover; and The Beatles for Best Male Vocal - Contemporary, Paul McCartney for "Eleanor Rigby."

March 1967 would also see the release of the ultimate garage rock single, "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night," the Buckinghams’ "Kind of a Drag," the first of three top ten singles that year, and ultimately, The Velvet Underground and Nico (AM10), a departure from the norm to the nth degree, and a far cry from Sgt. Pepper’s psychedelia, the Buckinghams' pop or Burt Bacharach's bachelor pad stylings.  If there was a year in music to relive, it’s 1967 and we're only three months in.